What We All Come to Need

Southern Lord

In the dark, moody world of Pelican, the sun is powered by bass-heavy feedback, the clouds evolve from a towering drum kit, and the rain lashes down with dark, sharp-edged chords that leave the listener wet and bedraggled and covered with the emotional mud of the true rock experience. This might not be the vacation at Club Med you hoped for, but it’s a journey of introspective cognizance as the druids dance and magic rings float by. In this nearly hour-long exercise, vocals are reserved for the last track and it’s taken this group three previous discs to work up the courage to sing.

As we start our journey with “Glimmer” and “The Creeper,” the faded echoes of Mountain and Led Zeppelin echo in the speaker stacks. By the middle of the disc we gradually morph into a more ’90s sound as the pace speeds up on “Specks of Light.” The urgency is never lost, but the music modulates farther and faster, only to slow up on “Strung Up From The Sky.” Vocals are promised, and vocals do arrive on “Final Breath.” Are they worth the wait? That’s a tough call – their absence on the first 88% of the disc doesn’t lessen its impact, and when they creep in like a drunken husband returning after a bender, they are quiet and hard to interpret. Pelican brings the concept of metal into the dimension of free form jazz – listen hard and you’ll be repaid, brush this off and you’ll only be confused.

Southern Lord:

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